During Week Five, I learned about Meaningful Use (MU) which is maintained and verified through the electronic health record systems (EHRs) many physicians use. The benefits of Meaningful Use are that the data provided can improve the efficiency of their practice. Physicians can maintain the privacy of their patients’ health information. By using Electronic Health Records and participating in Meaningful Use, physicians can qualify to receive reimbursement from the Centers of Medicaid and Medicare. The electronic health records contain information about a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, medications, immunization dates, allergies, and laboratory and other test results. Meaningful Use asks providers to attest that they are following the standard of care for their practice such as checking BMI (Body Mass Index) and following vaccination protocols. It also encourages discussion about tobacco use and other unhealthy habits. EHRs have access controls such as passwords and secure servers to make sure only authorized staff can view patients’ medical information and secure portals for patients to view their own record. Electronic health records can also help providers make decisions about a patient’s care and remind them to provide services through a check list. For the medical clinic, electronic health records may lower costs in the long-term. The government has also subsidized the cost for adopting these systems. Electronic Health Records are meant to standardize medical records to improve the quality and safety of patient care.
During Week 6, I will research the coming changes in Medicare reimbursements.